Mental Floss

Changing the Conversation to Poverty

Mangesh Hattikudur
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Once a year, BlogActionDay.org gets thousands of blogs big and small to unite and talk about one issue. This year's conversation is on poverty. Because mental_floss has a soft spot for smart guerilla marketing campaigns (and especially those with a social bent), I thought it might be interesting to showcase how various ads have forced people to confront issues of poverty. Here are a few of my favorites from Ads of the World.

1. Garbage Pail Art

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I know I rarely think about street-side trash bins doubling as food sources for those in need, but this silverware setting and the nutrition facts label are such smart and simple ways to recast things we take for granted in a different light. Staring at both of them made me want to raid my pantry and give to a food bank.

2. Grate Food

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pov.israeli food banks.jpg /

3. Putting the Spotlight on the Homeless

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4. An Ad with Legs

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pov.jaipurfoot.jpg /

As hard as the table tent campaign was to look at above, I found this one even more heartbreaking. The group, Jaipurfoot, helps indigent people who've lost limbs or had amputations get artificial limbs and prosthetics at no cost. The innovative signs always start from the shorts up and are placed on trees and poles around the city.

5. A Campaign for Change

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Of course, if you're looking to make your own small contribution in the fight against poverty, BlogActionDay has a few ideas, including donating to Kiva.org, the microloan institution where you can make as little as $25 loans to small businesses around the world. The goal is for them to pay you back with interest, and then for you to reseed that cash into another small business, if you're willing.

If you don't have time or cash to spare, John Breen has miraculously made that possible as well through his webpages TheHungerSite and FreeRice.com. While the first simply has you click a button to contribute food (the cost is covered by the advertising banners on there), the second is a trivia game that helps build your vocabulary as you win rice for the needy. It's an ingenious concept, and all of the rice is distributed through the UN's World Food Programme. In any case, all of this is more to make you think about the issue than anything else. I know just looking up all of these ads has made me want to give; I'm curious how the day will change others.

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